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Against the eastern gate of Paradise
Level'd his evening rays.

It was a rock
Of alabaster, pil'd up to the clouds,
Conspicuous far; winding with one ascent
Accessible from earth, one entrance high:
The rest was shaggy cliff, that overhung
Still as it rose, impossible to climb.
Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat,
Chief of the angelic guards, awaiting night..
About him exercis'd heroic games

Th' unarmed youth of heaven; but nigh at hand
Celestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears,
Elung high with diamond flaming, and with gold.
Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even
On a sunbeam, swift as a shooting star
In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fir'd
Impress the air, and shows the mariner

From what point of his compass to beware
Impetuous winds: he thus began in haste:
"Gabriel! to thee thy course by lot hath given
Charge, and strict charge, that to this happy place
No evil thing approach, or enter in.

This day, at height of noon came to my sphere
A spirit; zealous, as he seem'd, to know
More of th' Almighty's works: and chiefly man,.
God's latest image. I describ'd his way,
Bent all on speed, and mark'd his airy gait :
But, in the mount that lies from Eden north,
Where be first lighted, soon discern'd his looks
Alien from heaven, with passions foul obscur'd;
Mine eye pursued him still, but under shade
Lost sight of him. One of the banish'd crew,
I fear, bath ventur'd from the deep, to raise
New troubles; him thy care must be to find."

To whom the winged warrior thus return'd
"Uriel! No wonder if thy perfect sight,
Amid the sun's bright circle, where thou sitt'st
See far and wide: in at this gate none pass
The vigilance here plac'd, but such as come
Well known from heaven; and since meridian hour
No creature thence: if spirit of other sort,

So minded, have o'erleap'd these earthy bounds
On purpose, hard thou know'st it to exclude
Spiritual substance with corporeal bar.
But, if within the circuit of these walks,
In whatsoever shape, he lurk, of whom
Thou tell'st, by morrow dawning I shall know,"

So promis'd he; and Uriel to his charge [rais'd,
Return'd, on that bright beam, whose point now
Bore him slope downward to the sun, now fallen
Beneath th' Azores; whether the prime orb,
Incredible how swift, had thither roll'd
Diurnal; or this less voluble earth,

By shorter flight to th' east, had left him there,
Arraying with reflected purple' and gold
The clouds that on his western throne attend.
Now came still evening on, and twilight grey
Iad in ber sober livery all things clad:
Silence accompanied; for beast, and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests,
Were slunk; all but the wakeful nightingale;
She all night long her amorous descant sung;
Silence was pleas'd: now glow'd the firmament
With living sapphires; Hesperus, that led
The starry host, rode brightest; till the moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length,
Apparent queen, unveil'd her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.

When Adam thus to Eve: "Fair consort! th' hour
Of night, and all things now retir'd to rest,
Mind us of like repose; since God hath set
Labour and rest, as day and night, to men
Successive; and the timely dew of sleep,
Now falling with soft slumb'rous weight, inclines
Our eyelids. Other creatures all day long
Rove idle, unemploy'd, and less need rest;
Man hath his daily work of body, or mind,
Appointed, which declares his dignity,
And the regard of heaven on all his ways;
While other animals unactive range,
And of their doings God takes no account.
To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east

With first approach of light, we must be risen,
And at our pleasant labour to reform

You flowery arbours; yonder alleys green
Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown,
That mock our scant manuring, and require
More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth:
Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums,
That lie bestrewn, unsightly and unsmooth,
Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease:
Meanwhile, as nature wills, night bids us rest."
To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorn’d:
"My author and disposer! what thou bidd'st
Unargued I obey; so God ordains:

God is thy law, thou mine: to know no more
Is woman's happiest knowledge and her praise.
With thee conversing I forget all time;
All seasons, and their change, all please alike:
Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
Glist'ring with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
After soft showers: and sweet the coming on
Of grateful evening mild; then, silent night,
With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
And these the gems of heaven, her starry train:
But neither breath of morn, when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,
Glist'ring with dew; nor fragrance after showers;
Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night,
With this her solemn bird; nor walk by moon
Or glitt'ring starlight, without thee is sweet.
But wherefore all night long shine these? For whom
This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes?”
To whom the general ancestor replied:

"Daughter of God and man, accomplish'd Eve,
These have their course to finish round the earth
By morrow evening, and from land to land
In order, though to nations yet unborn,
Minist'ring light prepar'd, they set and rise;

Lest total darkness should by night regain
Her old possession, and extinguish life
In nature and all things, which these soft fires
Not only' enlighten, but with kindly heat
Of various influence foment and warm,
Temper or nourish, or in part shed down
Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow
On earth, made hereby apter to receive
Perfection from the sun's more potent ray,
These then, though unbeheld in deep of night,
Shine not in vain; nor think tho' men were none,
That heaven would want spectators, God want praise.
Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep :
All these with ceaseless praise his works behold
Both day and night. How often, from the steep
Of echoing hill, or thicket, have we heard
Celestial voices to the midnight air,

Sole, or responsive each to other's note.
Singing their great Creator? oft in bands.
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds,
In full harmonic number join'd, their songs
Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to heaven."
Thus talking, hand in hand, alone they pass'd
On to their blissful bower: it was a place
Chosen by the sov'reign Planter, when he fram'd
All things to man's delightful use: the roof,
Of thickest covert, was inwoven shade,
Laurel and myrtle; and what higher grew,
Of firm and fragrant leaf: on either side
Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub,
Fenc'd up the verdant wall: each beauteous flower,
Iris all bues, roses and jessamine,

Rear'd high their flourish'd heads between, and
Mosaic: underfoot the violet,

Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay

Broider'd the ground; more colour'd than with stone
Of costliest emblem: other creatures here,
Beast, bird, insect, or worm, durst enter none;
Such was their awe of man! In shadier bower

More sacred, and sequester'd, though but feign'd,
Pan, or Sylvanus, never slept; nor nymph,
Nor Faunus, haunted. Here, in close recess,
With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs,
Espoused Eve deck'd first her nuptial bed,
And heavenly choirs the hymenean sung,
What day the genial angel to our sire
Brought her, in naked beauty more adorn'd,
More lovely than Pandora; whom the gods
Endow'd with all their gifts, (and O, too like
In sad event!) when to th' unwiser son
Of Japhet brought by Hermes, she insnar'd
Mankind with her fair looks, to be aveng'd
On him who had stole Jove's authentic fire.

Thus, at their shady lodge arriv'd, both stood,
Both turn'd, and under open sky ador'd

The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven,
Which they beheld; the moon's resplendent globe,
And starry pole: "Thou also mad'st the night,
Maker Omnipotent! and thou the day,
Which we in our appointed work employ'd
Have finish'd, happy in our mutual help,
And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss
Ordain'd by thee; and this delicious place,
For us too large, where they abundance wants
Partakers, and uncropp'd falls to the ground.
But thou hast promis'd from us two a race
To fill the earth, who shall with us extol
Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake,
And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep."
This said unanimous, and other rites
Observing none, but adoration pure,

Which God likes best, into their inmost bower
Handed they went; and eas'd the putting off
These troublesome disguises which we wear,
Straight side by side were laid: nor turn'd, I ween,
Adam from his fair spouse; nor Eve the rites
Mysterious of connubial love refus'd:
Whatever hypocrites austerely talk
Of purity, and place, and innocence
Defaming as impure what God declares

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